A brief reply to a recent episode of The Minefield on ABC Radio: the evacuation of the political center isn’t a reflection of the “death knell of democracy itself”; in the United States, at least, it’s a reflection of the fact that — as Biden noted on a recent episode of Pod Save America — you can win elections if you run to the left or right of your opponent because a majority of Democratic and Republican voters have voted consistently in favor of their respective party since 2000 and the voting center as it’s currently constituted in this country isn’t large enough yet to compel a majority of politicians to seek that ground out.
Another problem here is what’s implied by a study flagged by the LSE — and it’s another argument for campaign finance reform (of which we’re seeing a slow shift in D.C. and Philadelphia — and which we hope doesn’t follow the path of shell company-like behavior as has happened in Hungary): “States with partisan judicial elections and professionalized courts attract greater campaign contributions.”)
Preliminary research suggests that this isn’t quite a problem yet in Australia. Fewer people may self-identify as centrists, but that doesn’t mean that the capacity (and the ways) to seek consensus has been fundamentally damaged. (One could perhaps even say that to presume that identity equals consensus automatically gives you the end of the argument before it has a chance to begin.) It also appears that if fewer people are seeking to identify as one of the two main parties, then one can argue that the desire for creative centrism (or a new definition of centrism) is — in fact — growing.